Dwight A. Moody
“Every regional and national denominational gathering,” I have said from the very first, “needs to have attached to it a festival for young preachers.”
Why? because these denominational gatherings are too often a collection of grey headed men (mostly) with too few young faces; and many of these are long on reports and business and short on preaching. A festival of young preachers addresses both of these concerns and does so with an eye to the future.
My associates and I at the Academy of Preachers have sought to do this in our own network, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship…at both the state (Kentucky) and national levels. For instance, this year when we meet in Dallas for the General Assembly, 16 young preachers will stand and deliver their message inspired by one of the 20 texts associated with our 2015 theme HEAVEN & EARTH.
But now the United Methodists have embraced this vision and have done so in a way that will provide a model for all other groups.
On July 16-17, more than 100 young preachers of the Methodist tradition will gather in Leawood, Kansas (greater Kansas City) for the United Methodist Young Preachers Festival and Conference.
This promising event is the handiwork of Tyler Best, AoP ’12, recent graduate of the University of Evansville. Tyler will begin his own seminary work this fall at Asbury Seminary in Kentucky.
Tyler first preached at an AoP-sponsored campus festival at the University of Evansville, then came to his first National Festival of Young Preachers in Louisville, Kentucky, in January of 2012. Inspired, he planned and lead a festival at his home church, Pfrimmer’s Chapel UMC in Corydon, Indiana. Then he launched the annual festival of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, which brought him to the attention of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. A written piece from their office caught the attention of Adam Hamilton at the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, which secured a large grant from the General Board and contracted with Tyler to help them design, promote, and manage their own festival this summer.
Nothing on the web site of this United Methodist event recognizes the Academy of Preachers as the origin and inspiration for their festival. This lack of kingdom sympathies contrasts sharply with our own attitude, which seeks to “identify, network, inspire, and support young people in the call to gospel preaching” regardless of who is doing it and why. In that spirit, the Academy of Preachers plans to attend this UMC Young Preachers Festival and Conference and promote it as a model for other denominations interested in the mission we share with Church of the Resurrection.
In addition, we will give each of the young Methodists preaching at the Kansas City event a copy of my just-published book, Nine Marks of a Good Sermon: A Guide for Young Preachers (Academy of Preachers Books, 2015). One of the nine Young Preachers with a sermon featured in this book is Michelle Rushing, AoP’13, who just graduated from the UMC-affiliated Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.
I encourage all Young Preachers, especially those associated with the Academy of Preachers, to make every effort to participate in this fresh expression of the movement of God that is raising up a new generation of gospel preachers. May the one good and gracious God bless Church of the Resurrection, Tyler Best, and the United Methodist Young Preachers Festival and Conference.
Call us at the Academy of Preachers (859-533-9929) and we will help you do what they (and we) are doing!!